FRANK V. UNITED STATES, 395 U. S. 147 (1969)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Frank v. United States, 395 U.S. 147 (1969)

Frank v. United States

No. 200

Argued December 12, 1968

Decided May 19, 1969

395 U.S. 147


Petitioner was charged with criminal contempt for violating an injunction. After unsuccessfully demanding a jury trial, he was tried and adjudged guilty by the District Court, which suspended imposition of sentence and placed him on probation for three years. The Court of Appeals affirmed.


1. Petty offenses may be tried without a jury. In determining whether an offense can be classified as "petty," the most relevant criterion is the severity of the penalty authorized, and where no maximum penalty is authorized, the severity of the penalty actually imposed. Pp. 395 U. S. 148-149.

2. Criminal contempt sentences of up to six months may be constitutionally imposed without a jury trial. See Cheff v. Schnackenberg, 384 U. S. 373. P. 395 U. S. 150.

3. Congress made the federal probation statute (18 U.S.C. § 3651), under which most offenders may be placed on probation for up to five years, applicable to petty as well as more serious offenses, and thus petty offenses may be tried by any combination of penalties authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 1 and § 3651. P. 395 U. S. 150.

4. Since petitioner's sentence was within the limits of the congressional definition of petty offense, he was not entitled to a jury trial. P. 395 U. S. 152.

384 F.2d 276, affirmed.

Page 395 U. S. 148

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